The Conditionalist Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 2


III. The Strength of the Case for Conditionalism

Let us view the question from another angle. Let none gain the impression that we believe that mere numbers or sheer training or position or brilliance are to be considered as determinative evidence of truth and right. Majorities have often, if not usually, been wrong on various moral and Biblical questions. Indeed, not a few of the most erudite have been guilty of gravest error. But the array of trained godly scholars here presented does show that Conditionalism is not the product either of ignorance of Bible doctrine or of Biblical languages. CFF2 1045.2

It is not guilty of flouting the testimony of history. It does not involve the trampling of logic, indulgence in palpably faulty reasoning, or the quashing of the canons of sound exegesis. The ranks of Conditionalists embrace some of the finest minds of any given generation-the peers of any of their fellows. Nor do they stand in lonely isolation. They are a goodly company. They were not effectively answered. And their right to a respectful hearing must be conceded. CFF2 1045.3


The value of this array of witnesses lies in their cogent presentations of Biblical and historical truth, set forth in varying degrees of fullness and from various angles, with multiple forms of approach and argument. Thus, through candid expression of reverent conviction, based on deep study of the Word and the history of doctrine, the basis of their faith and the soundness of their conclusions may be evaluated. And the cumulation of such evidence gives it impelling force and appeal. CFF2 1045.4

Moreover, through tracing these witnesses back across the centuries, we see that Conditionalism is not some strange, belated innovation or fantasy of recent times. Rather, it is a consistent teaching reaching back to the Early Church and springing to new vitality at the very beginning of the Protestant Reformation, when the recovery of pristine truth and the repudiation of the papal accretions of the centuries were under way, though it started but slowly. CFF2 1046.1

But, far more significant than the Reformation-inception aspect, Conditionalism goes back (as traced in volume one) to apostolic times, showing that it was the original faith of the earliest Christian writers (the Apostolic Fathers), and was the persisting position of a line of strong Ante-Nicene witnesses —and this at the very time when the purity of the Christian faith was being polluted by subversive Greek philosophy, and devious digressions were undermining the original faith. CFF2 1046.2

Conditionalism is consequently seen to be the perpetuation, or recovery, of the original Christian belief that was well-nigh crushed to earth during the dominance of early medieval departures. It is therefore not an innovation or a doctrinal deviation. It bears sound historical credentials. It has the stamp of authentic apostolic doctrine. CFF2 1046.3


By tracing the pagan origins and the devastating penetrations of the alien Platonic philosophy, first into the Jewish and then into the Christian faiths-bringing about the perversion of the majority-we have before us the full picture of the inception of the conflict of the centuries over the nature and destiny of man. At the same time it becomes an omen of the destined revival and triumph of truth. CFF2 1046.4

With this unfolding panorama thus spread out systematically before us, we can reach sound and considered conclusions as we stand in the determining light of the centuries. The historical approach to the study of any facet of Biblical truth is not only most illuminating but also the most comprehensive and the safest method of obtaining the verdict of the centuries. It constitutes the key to sound historic truth. CFF2 1047.1


This sweeping investigation, with documentation here shared with the reader, has been one of the most rewarding and stimulating experiences of decades of research-inquiry into various great areas of truth. The evidence gleaned from the most significant writings of the centuries is now in the hands of the reader. We here rest our case. A right individual verdict, we need scarcely add, is all important. CFF2 1047.2

The issues are basic and tremendous. The conflict of gathering forces in the battle between truth and error is intensifying. It has been shown that the subtleties of philosophy are deceptive, and the arguments of tradition and majority practice or opinion are alike untrustworthy and misleading. The mandates of Holy Writ alone are determinative. The Inspired Scriptures are the only safe criterion in an open-minded search for truth. The Biblical revelation constitutes Heaven’s final authority. CFF2 1047.3

That is why I, as a reverent investigator of the over-all evidence, am persuaded, in the light of the witness of the centuries, of the soundness and the verity of the Conditionalist position. I could not in honesty reach any other conclusion. CFF2 1047.4